When to Treat Seizures
The decision to start medication to treat your dog's seizures is never an easy one. All medications have potential adverse side effects, the medications must be given on schedule and there is a cost factor involved. All of these things must be weighed against the frequency and severity of the seizures.
Most veterinarians will advise you to watch your dog after his first seizure and will not prescribe medications unless the first seizure was extremely severe. If seizures continue, medication will be considered.
Some veterinarians believe that medication is not necessary unless a dog has seizures more than once a month or the seizures are clusters of multiple seizures in a 24 hour period. Other veterinarians believe that treatment should be considered if seizures occur more than once every four months.
Another consideration is kindling. Repeated application of low-intensity electrical stimulus to the brain of a research animal will cause seizures. Over time, changes in the brain occur that make it easier to induce seizures, called kindling. It's unknown whether or not naturally occurring seizures can produce kindling, but is certainly a consideration in deciding when to treat seizures. At least one study suggests, that dogs who are treated prior to having many seizures, have better long term control of seizures.
There are many things to consider and each case may be different. Your veterinarian can discuss the pros and cons of treatment with you to help you decide if your epileptic pup should be treated.
Heynold Y, Faissled D,
Steffen F, et al: Clinical, epidemiological and treatments results of
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Small Anim Pract 38:7, 1997
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Last Updated August 2009